•Laments meagre 1.8% solid minerals contribution to GDP
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) yesterday released a five-year strategic plan, spanning between 2022-2026, which it said will ensure that the initiative in Nigeria delivers impactful results and energise more reforms in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, who spoke during the event in Abuja, also said oil firms operating in the sector still have an outstanding sum of N1.07 trillion owed the federal government.
Orji noted that the three major strategic objectives of the five-year plan were to enhance extractive sector governance reforms through policy research, strategic stakeholder engagement, communication and inter-agency collaboration.
Under the strategic objectives, he added that the focus will be on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which, if well implemented comprehensively, will address the challenges within the oil and gas sector.
Orji expressed displeasure that the solid minerals sector currently contributes a little over 1.8 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stressing that if well harnessed, the sector could grow the economy more than oil.
“Our projection is that if the solid mineral sector is thrown open for investment, it has the potential to contribute over 60 per cent to the nation’s GDP. At 60 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP would mean outperforming oil. This is our target. We have done an extensive scoping study and seen the potential of the solid minerals sector,” he stated.
From previous NEITI reports, Orji recalled that a total of N624.1 billion was recorded as revenue that had accrued to the government from the sector over a 13-year period which in today’s exchange rate amounts to about $1.4 billion compared to the enormous $394 billion earned in the oil and gas sector in just 10 years.
He added that NEITI will be moving fully into the solid mineral sector to draw the same attention it drew to the oil and gas sector, drive reforms and ensure that revenues from the sector are prudently deployed for the growth and development of the country.
“Furthermore, our reports incentivised the National Assembly to set up a public hearing where recoveries were made to the tune of N1.5 Trillion ($3.8Billion) into government coffers with over N1.07 trillion (US$2.67 billion) still outstanding. The 2021 industry report will be released in June and by then we will update you on the companies’ compliant status.
“Our alarm has also put companies on their toes in making sure that they pay to government what they ought to as at when due,” he pointed out.
He said that NEITI was commissioning a survey on the actual consumption of Petrol Motor Spirit (PMS) in Nigeria because as at today, no one is sure what the figure is.
Besides , Orji stated that NEITI will also like to conduct a further study on the 13 per cent derivation to ascertain whether the benefiting states are getting what they are really supposed to get and the extent of utilisation.
In his remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who officially unveiled the five-year plan at the new NEITI office in Abuja, said that the federal government was satisfied with all the efforts of NEITI in championing ongoing reforms to make our extractive industry work for all Nigerians.
Quoting from the NEITI Policy Advisory, Mustapha recalled that over N13 trillion (N74 billion) was documented to have been expended on the payment of subsidy between 2005-2021.
“The figure in relative terms is equivalent to Nigeria’s entire budget for health, education, agriculture, and defence in the last five years, and almost the capital expenditure for 10 years between 2011 2020.
“I guess that this could be more if we compute in financial terms other economic and opportunity costs to the nation.
“ These include the slashing of allocations for the health, education, and technology infrastructure sectors; deterioration of the downstream sector with the declining performance of Nigeria’s refineries, a discentivised private sector investment in the down and mid-stream petroleum sector; Low employment generation since the refining process is done outside the shores of Nigeria and inefficient supply arrangements which often leads to scarcity and its attendant queues etc,” he added.
According to him, a comprehensive position to guide the incoming administration on when and how to make a decision on subsidy is being developed by the Presidential Transition Council, which he (Mustapha) currently heads.